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Players to watch during the IFL’s 2020 Season

The Indoor Football League is filled with players to watch, year after year.

2020 is no different. The season is officially underway, with a plethora of talent ready to take the field for season openers over the next two weekends.

We took the liberty of identifying some of the most exciting players that fans will watch this season – keeping it at one player per team, of course.

We’ll let everyone else make their own opinions, but here are some of the most exciting players that will take the field in 2020.
Players to watch during the IFL’s 2020 Season
Arizona Rattlers – QB Drew Powell
Drew Powell runs into the end zone in front of an Arizona defender during Iowa’s win against the Rattlers in their home opener. Photo by Connor Ferguson.

Now in his second season and first full campaign leading the Arizona Rattlers, Drew Powell has his sites back on the IFL MVP Award and looks to lead the Rattlers to another United Bowl championship. Powell earned the league’s MVP award in 2018 and had 166 yards on a 76% completion rate in last year’s United Bowl loss to the Sioux Falls Storm. Don’t be surprised to see Powell thrive again this season under the leadership of Arizona head coach Kevin Guy.

 
Bismarck Bucks – DB Marcus Green
A Birthday photo for Bismarck’s Marcus Green. Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Football.

Marcus Green opened his 2020 IFL season on Sunday in Bismarck by leading his team with six tackles as well as an interception in a 50-36 loss. The Bucks have re-stocked their team with a plethora of talent on the defensive side of the football, so look for the former Oklahoma Sooner to keep the momentum going through the rest of the year.

 
Cedar Rapids River Kings – WR Shaq Currenton
Shaq Currenton runs off the field after a big play. Photo courtesy Tucson Sugar Skulls.

The Cedar Rapids River Kings had a busy off-season trying to rectify a roster that finished last season 1-13. The River Kings brought in Victor Mann to coach the team in 2020 and made a splash with signings in the off-season. Shaq Currenton averaged 41.0 yards per game last season as well as 13 touchdowns for the Sugar Skulls. He’ll be a big part of the River Kings offense if Cedar Rapids makes a push for the playoffs.

 
Duke City Gladiators – WR Dello Davis
Dello Davis was a normal occurance on the CIF Players of the Week lists before the Gladiators moved to the IFL. Photo courtesy CIF.

Dello Davis was a regular sight to see on the CIF’s players of the week lists in 2019. The wideout ended his year in second in the league in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. As the Gladiators transition to the IFL, they’ll need a lot out of their returning players that have made the core of the back-to-back championships the team is coming off of. Davis will be a big help with that.

 

 

 
Frisco Fighters – QB Jonathan Bane
Quarterback Jonathan Bane kisses a trophy after winning a championship with the NAL’s Jacksonville Sharks. Photo courtesy Jonathan Bane, Twitter.

The Frisco Fighters enter the IFL as one of three, true expansion teams – if you count Duke City as a transitioning franchise. Under the leadership of former AFL Coach of the Year Clint Dolezel, the Fighters look to have a strong inaugural season in Texas. They’ll go to battle with the quarterback that led the Jacksonville Sharks to the 2019 NAL Championship in Jonathan Bane. The Texas native threw for nearly 2,000 yards as well as 39 touchdowns ahead of the championship game. Dolezel has been known to work well with quarterbacks, so it wouldn’t be surprising for Bane to put up better numbers in 2020.

 
Green Bay Blizzard – DB Bakari Triggs
Bakari Triggs earned IFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors a season ago. Photo courtesy IFL.

The Green Bay Blizzard had a breakout season in the IFL last year. After six straight losing season’s, Coach Corey Roberson helped the team to a 9-5 season in route to the Playoffs. Returning for 2020 is defensive back Bakari Triggs – the IFL’s defensive rookie of the year. Triggs tied at the top of the league with six interceptions along with 38 tackles and a sack to add to his resume. Triggs will be a big part of an already dominant Blizzard defense that looks to return to the playoffs.

Iowa Barnstormers – WR Connor Hollenbeck
Wide receiver Connor Hollenbeck tosses a ball to a ref following a first down. Hollenbeck is already making an impact at the position just two weeks into his career in Iowa. Photo by Connor Ferguson

Dixie Wooten has left Des Moines, but one of the IFL’s most talented receivers is staying put in Iowa. There’s a reason that Connor Hollenbeck was the first official signing under new head coach Ameer Ismail, too. Over the past two seasons, Hollenbeck has been a regular to the top 10 leaders in receiving yards for the league including a ninth-place finish with 627 yards in 2019. Hollenbeck added 14 touchdowns last year and helped the Barnstormers to a second straight IFL semifinal appearance.

 
Oakland Panthers – RB Davonte Sapp-Lynch
Davonte Sapp-Lynch awaits the start of a game at Wells Fargo Arena. Photo by Connor Ferguson

Bursting into the Indoor Football scene in 2019, Davonte Sapp-Lynch quickly made a splash for the Nebraska Danger. If asked, he’ll tell you Marshawn Lynch – the former Seahawk and Panthers owner – is a brother to him, not the other way around. Rightfully so, Sapp-Lynch will take the field in Oakland for 2020 a year after finishing in the top five in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. It would be a big surprise to not see him back there this year.
Quad City Steamwheelers – WR Keyvan Rudd
Keyvan Rudd jumps up to catch a ball during a regular season game. Photo courtesy Rich Glancey/Pictureman Sports Photos.

One of the most electric players in the IFL during the 2019 season is coming back to the Quad Cities for another run with the Steamwheelers in 2020. Keyvan Rudd had some of the most electric catches and plays around the league last year. Rudd finished second in the IFL with 925 yards and led the Steamwheelers to a 6-8 record, just missing the playoffs. Already off to a hot start this season, Rudd helped get Quad City’s season started with a win over Cedar Rapids on Saturday that included a 34-yard touchdown.

Sioux Falls Storm – QB Lorenzo Brown Jr.
B.J. Butler chases down Sioux Falls Lorenzo Brown in the 2018 United Bowl. Photo by Connor Ferguson.

If there was ever a player known for explosive plays in the IFL, there hasn’t been one that has been known to do it for as long as Sioux Falls quarterback Lorenzo Brown Jr. has. Once again returning to the Storm following a championship season, Brown Jr. will try to lead his team to more success. Brown Jr. finished 2019 with 67 touchdowns – 46 through the air and 21 on the ground – and looks to be another top duel-threat quarterback in the IFL this year.

 
San Diego Strike Force – WR/KR Marques Rodgers
Marques Rodgers returns to the field in 2020 after being named LWOS IFL Honorable mention a year ago.

Marques Rodgers just missed out on being one of LWOS’ players of the year, instead earning a honorable mention for his performance in the 2019 season. The breakout star for the San Diego Strike Force ended the year with 1,322 yards on kick returns alone, proving to be as exciting as he was valuable for his team. He returns in 2020 as the Strike Force try to improve in their second year as a franchise.

 
Spokane Shock – QB Charles McCullum
The Spokane Shock, under the new leadership of Billy Back signed former All-NAL QB Charles McCullum. Photo courtesy Spokane Shock.

When head coach Billy Back was announced as the next head man to the returning Spokane Shock franchise, it was expected that two-time IFL MVP Charles McCullum would be returning to the league.  McCullum was one of the first players signed to return to Spokane and will be one of the many names competing for the overall MVP as well as, potentially, the championship.

 
Tucson Sugar Skulls – WR Ryan Balentine
Ryan Balentine celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the Iowa Barnstormers semi-final victory against the Nebraska Danger. Photo by Connor Ferguson

On the other side of things, when coach Dixie Wooten took off to take the lead of the Tucson Sugar Skulls, it was all but a done deal that his right hand man Ryan Balentine. On top of winning LWOS IFL MVP a season ago, Balentine led the league in receiving yards with 1,084 and 28 touchdowns for the Barnstormers. Look for him to play a big part in Wooten’s offense as a wideout as well as the backup quarterback.

 

The IFL season will start up again on Thursday with the third game of the season scheduled to begin in Frisco, Texas for a matchup between the Fighters and Duke City.

The game is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. CT and will be live-streamed on YouTube. The post Players to watch during the IFL’s 2020 Season appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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